Shockley preview

Tennessee's preparations for Saturday's game against elusive Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley got a head star this past weekend. Ole Miss quarterback Michael Spurlock did a pretty convincing Shockley impersonation in the Rebels' 27-10 loss to the Vols.

Like Shockley, Spurlock is an exceptional runner with the mobility to elude the pass rush and run for positive yardage. And, like Shockley, Spurlock has a strong passing arm and a knack for throwing on the run. Thus, facing Spurlock provided a useful preview of what the Vols will face this weekend against Shockley.

"They're both athletic," Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer conceded. "Shockley's much bigger and much more polished as a quarterback I believe. But (Spurlock) is athletic. That guy's hard to catch in a phone booth."

Defensive end Parys Haralson agreed that chasing Spurlock yesterday provided a nice tune-up for chasing Shockley this weekend.

"We've got Shockley coming in, and he's the same type quarterback … he scrambles a lot," Haralson said. "This was a good warm-up. We see what we need to work on."

Keeping containment, for instance. Several times Spurlock's mobility enabled him to avoid UT's rush long enough to find an open receiver. On a third-and-14 at the Rebel 32-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Spurlock scrambled probably five seconds before hitting Mike Espy for 23 yards. That big play sustained a drive that eventually produced the Rebels' only touchdown.

"We've got to stay in our rush lanes a little bit more," Haralson noted. "But when you're playing a good athlete like that he's going to make some plays. We just have to make more plays."

The Vols made one huge play in the first quarter. Rolling to his right with Jason Hall in hot pursuit, Spurlock hurried a throw that Vol cornerback Jonathan Wade intercepted and returned 19 yards for Tennessee's second touchdown.

Wade credited the Vol front four, noting that they "forced the quarterback out of the pocket, forced him to make some decisions he really didn't want to make."

The decision to throw on the run into Wade's area certainly qualifies as a decision Spurlock must regret in retrospect.

"He was looking for a quick answer," Wade said. "Our defensive line was getting so much pressure, I just sat there (and the ball) kinda' fell into my hands."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories